60th Seed Baena Wins Match Play Title

By Sports NetworkJuly 3, 2005, 4:00 pm
GLADSTONE, N.J. -- Marisa Baena, ranked 60th in the 64-player field, parred the final hole Sunday to defeat 47th-seeded Meena Lee, 1-up and win the HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship.
 
The win was her first on the LPGA Tour and she pocketed $500,000 for the victory, the richest first-place prize in LPGA Tour history. That's big for someone who had only made $87,258 so far in the 2005 season.
 
Marisa Baena
Marisa Baena knocked off six straight higher seeds en route to the Match Play title.
'It's been a great week,' said Baena. 'I have no words. That's almost what I've made my entire career. I made $30,000 last year and here I made $500,000 in a week.'
 
Baena established a 3-up lead on the back nine, but Lee never relented. At the 15th, Baena missed a 25-footer for birdie, while Lee holed a 12-footer to win the hole and trail 2-down.
 
Lee, who hit first on almost every hole because Baena is longer off the tee, hit her approach to 15 feet at the 16th. Baena was 20 feet short of the hole and came up 2 feet short with her birdie putt. Lee once again holed the tester and now her deficit was only 1-down with two to play.
 
Lee looked to be in trouble at the par-3 17th when she missed the green left. Baena hit a 7-iron 15 feet short of the hole, then watched Lee chip to 8 feet. Baena had a chance to win the title, but her putt never touched the hole. Lee drained the par save to stay 1-down and force the final to reach No. 18.
 
At the 18th, both players found the fairway off the tee and Lee came up 40 feet short with a 7-wood. Baena landed 25 feet over the flag with her second.
 
Lee hit a tentative putt that left her 6 feet for par. Baena needed two putts to win the title and she lagged her birdie try to tap-in range. Lee conceded the match and title to Baena.
 
'It's amazing,' said Baena. 'My husband is here, my dad is here, so it's even more special for me.'
 
Baena came to the tour with a lot of promise. She lost the 1996 U.S. Amateur title to Kelli Kuehne, but had an amazing collegiate career at the University of Arizona. Baena won 10 tournaments, including the 1996 NCAA Individual title.
 
Lee, who was not even in the field last week at the U.S. Women's Open, took her second runner-up finish in this her rookie year. She tied for second at the LPGA Corning Classic.
 
Baena took the lead several times on the front nine, but Lee almost always squared the match.
 
Lee never played in a single match-play event before this week and it showed at the par-five ninth. She went through the green with her third, then chipped through on the other side with her fourth. Baena was in there close, putting for birdie, but Lee conceded instead of taking a shot with her chip and maybe holing out for par. If Baena missed the birdie putt, and Lee made her long chip, the hole would have been halved, but Lee conceded to fall 2-down.
 
Lee answered with a 10-footer for birdie at the 10th to cut the margin in half.
 
Baena built a 2-up lead at the 11th when she rolled in a 6-foot birdie putt and Lee failed to capitalize from 4 feet. Baena gave one back thanks to a poor tee shot in the bunker at 12, but she reclaimed a 2-up edge at 13. She rolled in a 7-footer for birdie at the par-4 hole.
 
Baena reached the green in two at the par-5 14th. She had 35 feet for eagle and Lee had almost the same distance for birdie. Baena lagged her birdie try close to the hole, but once Lee missed her birdie putt, she perhaps conceded early as Baena had almost 2 feet left. Baena went 3-up until Lee's dramatic comeback attempt.
 
Baena ousted Natalie Gulbis (No. 5), Grace Park (No. 37), Jennifer Rosales (No. 21) and Karrie Webb (No. 29) en route to the semifinals, where she beat Candie Kung (No. 8), 2-up.
 
Lee defeated Hee-Won Han (No. 18), Kim Saiki (No. 50), Liselotte Neumann (No. 31) and Pat Hurst (No. 39), and Wendy Ward (No. 14) to make the final match.
 
In the consolation match, Ward overcame a 3-down deficit to defeat Kung, 2 and 1. Ward ran in a pair of 15-foot birdie putts at 15 and 17 to close the door on Kung, who bested No. 1 seed Annika Sorenstam in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
 
Related links:
  • Leaderboard - HSBC Womens World Match Championship

  • Full Coverage - HSBC Womens World Match Championship
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    Bhatia loses U.S. Am match after caddie-cart incident

    By Ryan LavnerAugust 16, 2018, 2:21 am

    PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – One of the hottest players in amateur golf had his U.S. Amateur run end Wednesday under unusual circumstances.

    Akshay Bhatia, the 16-year-old left-hander who has been dominating the junior golf circuit over the past year, squandered a late lead in his eventual 19-hole loss to Bradford Tilley in the Round of 64.

    Bhatia was all square against Tilley as they played Pebble Beach’s par-5 14th hole. After knocking his second shot onto the green, Bhatia and his caddie, Chris Darnell, stopped to use the restroom. Bhatia walked up to the green afterward, but Darnell asked what he thought was a USGA official for a ride up to the green.

    “The gentleman was wearing a USGA pullover,” Darnell explained afterward. “I asked if I could get a ride to the green to keep up pace, and he said yes. So I hopped on the back, got up to the green, hopped off and thought nothing of it.”

    Conditions of the competition prohibit players and caddies from riding on any form of transportation during a stipulated round unless authorized.

    It turns out that the cart that Darnell rode on was not driven by a USGA official. Rather, it was just a volunteer wearing USGA apparel. A rules official who was in the area spotted the infraction and assessed Bhatia an adjustment penalty, so instead of winning the hole with a birdie-4 to move 1 up, the match remained all square.


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    Even more interesting was what Darnell said happened earlier in the match.

    “I had already seen the other caddie in our group do it on the ninth hole,” Darnell said. “Same thing – USGA pullover, drove him from the bathroom up to the fairway – so I assumed it was fine. I didn’t point it out at the time because everything seemed kosher. He had the USGA stuff on, and I didn’t think anything of it.”

    Bhatia won the 15th hole to go 1 up, but lost the 17th and 19th holes with bogeys to lose the match. He didn’t blame the outcome on the cart incident.  

    “What can you do? I’ll have plenty of opportunities to play in this tournament, so I’m not too upset about it,” he said. “It’s just frustrating because I deserved to win that match. That wasn’t the outcome I wanted, but I can’t do anything about it.”

    Bhatia, of Wake Forest, N.C., has been a dominant force in the junior ranks, going back-to-back at the Junior PGA (including this dramatic hole-out), capturing the AJGA Polo, taking the Sage Valley Invitational and reaching the finals of the U.S. Junior.

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    1, 2, 3 out: Thornberry, Suh, Morikawa lose at U.S. Am

    By Ryan LavnerAugust 16, 2018, 1:14 am

    PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – The top three players in the world had a tough afternoon Wednesday at Pebble Beach.

    Braden Thornberry, Justin Suh and Collin Morikawa – Nos. 1-3, respectively, in the World Amateur Golf Ranking – all lost their Round of 64 matches at the U.S. Amateur.

    Thornberry lost, 2 and 1, to Jesus Montenegro of Argentina. As the No. 1 amateur in the world, the Ole Miss senior was in line to receive the McCormack Medal, which would exempt him into both summer Opens in 2019, provided he remains amateur. But now he’ll need to wait and see how the rankings shake out.

    Suh and Morikawa could have played each other in the Round of 32, but instead they were both heading home early.


    U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos


    Suh, a junior at USC, never led in his 1-up loss to Harrison Ott, while Cal's Morikawa lost to another Vanderbilt player, John Augenstein, in 19 holes.

    Englishman Matthew Jordan is the fourth-ranked player in the world, but he didn’t make the 36-hole stroke-play cut.

    The highest-ranked player remaining is Oklahoma State junior Viktor Hovland, who is ranked fifth. With his college coach, Alan Bratton, on the bag, Hovland beat his Cowboys teammate, Hayden Wood, 3 and 2, to reach the Round of 32.

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    Fiery Augenstein outduels Morikawa at U.S. Amateur

    By Ryan LavnerAugust 16, 2018, 12:55 am

    PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Around the Vanderbilt golf team John Augenstein’s nickname is “Flash,” and it’s easy to see why.

    The swing loaded with speed.

    The on-course charisma.

    The big shot in the big moment.

    The Commodores junior added another highlight to his growing collection Wednesday, when he defeated world No. 3 Collin Morikawa in 19 holes during a Round of 64 match at the U.S. Amateur.

    Out of sorts early at Pebble Beach, Augenstein was 2 down to Morikawa after butchering the short seventh and then misplaying a shot around the green on 8.

    Standing on the ninth tee, he turned to Vanderbilt assistant coach/caddie Gator Todd: "I need to play the best 10 holes of my life to beat Collin."

    And did he?

    “I don’t know,” he said later, smirking, “but I did enough.”

    Augenstein won the ninth hole after Morikawa dumped his approach shot into the hazard, drained a 30-footer on 10 to square the match and then took his first lead when he rolled in a 10-footer on 14.

    One down with three holes to go, Morikawa stuffed his approach into 16 while Augenstein, trying to play a perfect shot, misjudged the wind and left himself in a difficult position, short and right of the green. Augenstein appeared visibly frustrated once he found his ball, buried in the thick ryegrass short of the green. He told Todd that he didn’t think he’d be able to get inside of Morikawa’s shot about 6 feet away, but he dumped his pitch shot onto the front edge, rode the slope and trickled it into the cup for an unlikely birdie.

    “Come on!” he yelled, high-fiving Todd and tossing his wedge at his bag.

    “It was beautiful,” Todd said. “I’m not sure how he did that, but pretty cool that it went in.”  


    U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos


    Morikawa answered by making birdie, then won the 17th with a par before both players halved the home hole with birdies.

    On the first extra hole, Augenstein hit his approach to 15 feet while Morikawa left it short. Morikawa raced his first putt by 6 feet and then missed the comebacker to lose the match.

    It may not have been the best 10-hole stretch of Augenstein’s career, but after that pep talk on 9 tee, he went 4 under to the house.

    “He’s a fiery little dude,” Morikawa said of his 5-foot-8-inch opponent. “You don’t want to get him on the wrong side because you never know what’s going to happen. He’s not going to give shots away.”

    The first-round match was a rematch of the Western Amateur quarterfinals two weeks ago, where Augenstein also won, that time by a 4-and-2 margin.

    “It’s the most fun format and where I can be my true self – emotional and aggressive and beat people,” Augenstein said.

    That’s what he did at the 2017 SECs, where he won the deciding points in both the semifinals and the finals. He starred again a few weeks later at the NCAA Championship, last season went 3-0 in SEC match play, and now has earned a reputation among his teammates as a primetime player.

    “I’ve hit a lot of big shots and putts in my career,” said Augenstein, ranked 26th in the world after recently winning the Players Amateur. “I get locked in and focused, and there’s not a shot that I don’t think I can pull off. I’m not scared to fail.”

    The comeback victory against Morikawa – a three-time winner last season at Cal and one of the best amateurs in the world – didn’t surprise Todd. He’s seen firsthand how explosive Augenstein can be on the course.

    “He’s just fiery,” Todd said. “He does things under pressure that you’re not supposed to do. He’s just a special kid.”

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    Fowler (oblique) withdraws from playoff opener

    By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:44 pm

    The injury that slowed Rickie Fowler at last week's PGA Championship will keep him out of the first event of the PGA Tour's postseason.

    Fowler was reportedly hampered by an oblique injury at Bellerive Country Club, where he started the third round two shots off the lead but faded to a tie for 12th. He confirmed the injury Tuesday in an Instagram post, adding that an MRI revealed a partial tear to his right oblique muscle.

    According to Fowler, the injury also affected him at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he tied for 17th. After receiving the test results, he opted to withdraw from The Northern Trust next week at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey.

    "My team and I feel like it's best not to play next week in the Northern Trust," Fowler wrote. "I will be back healthy and competitive ASAP for the FedEx Cup and more than ready for the Ryder Cup!!!"

    Fowler is one of eight players who earned automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team when the qualifying window closed last week. His next opportunity to tee it up would be at the 100-man Dell Technologies Championship, where Fowler won in 2015.

    Fowler has 12 top-25 finishes in 18 starts, highlighted by runner-up finishes at both the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in the fall and at the Masters. He is currently 17th in the season-long points race, meaning that he's assured of starts in each of the first three playoff events regardless of performance and in good position to qualify for the 30-man Tour Championship for the fourth time in the last five years.